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Meet Kathryn

Posted on 4/4/2018 7:00:00 PM by Chief Team



Kathryn Gaskell
Manager of Chief Product Management


Describe the work you do.
The work I do is try to understand customer needs, market needs, experience needs for digital signage in the market place. I then bring that up to the product development team so we can create solutions. Every day is different. Our customers are always trying to create unique experiences. Those are challenges we always excel at.

I’m very lucky because I have a really awesome product management team. Our five product managers are always looking for new ways to solve pain points for AV.

The chief team as a whole is a big family. We care about the products. We are engaged with making sure we do the right thing for the customer. We make sure they can get info as fast and furiously as they need it. They are in tune really early with all the players in the whole project scope – our partners in tech, end users like a quick service restaurant, a dealership or a stadium, and all the people making sure to make the digital signage alive. They rely on the chief sales team to do that. Our resources and reach are pretty deep and wide.

What drew you to this work?
The variety and making people happy. You come up with a really innovative solution they don’t have today, and the look in those customers’ eyes when you bring them that solution, you can’t make that up. Seeing their happiness or joy or appreciation is awesome. It’s making someone’s day easier, creating better looking content in the marketplace and prettier environments to live in. Being able to do that at Chief is even better.

What interests you about digital signage?
I’m always excited at how much technology is changing and how much it can affect someone’s life – promote something, make something easier, make the environment better. I’m a marketing person at heart, so I understand how we can enrich peoples’ lives in how to find things or know things. We’re not the most exciting piece of digital signage, but we’re an important piece to attach that tech to something.

 

What is a common misconception about digital signage you often have to correct?
I don’t correct many people. Nothing’s ever really wrong – they are always creating something new and exciting. A digital sign isn’t just promoting the newest car you can drive, it could just be showing you where to find something or show the feeling I’m supposed to experience when I enter a retail space. Knowing how deep it really can get is really exciting. The only thing I would correct is make sure the application could physically happen.

What digital signage trends are you seeing in 2018?
It’s not necessarily new, but tech like LED is increasing in applications and usage. Another continuing trend is interactive applications. We want to be sure people have the ability to leverage interactive displays well. It’s amazing how much digital signage continues to grow year over year. We have not saturated the marketplace at all.

Describe a typical day at work.
There is no such thing. Some days I’ll be in the marketplace talking to customers, some days I’m in the office tracking down custom opportunities or potential projects coming soon, some days I’m in development and brainstorming for the next generation of products, some days I’m in production/manufacturing to help improve processes, and some days I am training sales and customer service.

What makes something a good idea for you? What do you consider when evaluating a direction for a product?
It needs to be innovative or new, yet simple to comprehend and use. You really want to find that perfect balance of simplicity and excitement. You want to go wow, that’s really cool, why didn’t someone think of it before? ConnexSys is one of those examples by using strut channel as a base to level a single row. When I watch customers understand that concept, they are like “I get it, and I love it.”

Do you have other hobbies or interests?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, hosting gatherings and helping people with a few charities I’m in. I enjoy boating on the Mississippi River.

Where did you grow up?
Suburb of Minneapolis, Hopkins.

What’s your first memory?
I live in the house I grew up in. My father added on to that house when I was a young girl. It was my father and grandfather building and me running around with a tool belt on at the age of two and trying to help.

What personality traits work well with what you do?
I think caring and empathetic. You can hear the softer messages customers are telling you without trying to jump to solutions. Listening is a good characteristic to have to understand the root cause, problem and pain point. That’s what the underlying need is. It’s not always the first thing someone says. You also learn by watching them go through their day. Other characteristics are definitely project management skills and people skills to work with cross-functional teams.

What frustrates you?
Inefficiency. But when you see it, I see opportunity, so being able to turn that and improve that. It can be frustrating but a good challenge to have.

What excites you?
Every day is different. It’s never dull. There’s plenty to do. And that we have a great team.

What is your favorite non-dirty curse word?
Mylanta.

 

See Kathryn discuss the product development behind the ConnexSys Video Wall Mounting System.